Best Fall Drives in the Smokies

Fall drives in the Smokies are one of the best ways to experience the change in seasons. The weather has a cool, crispness to it and the leaves are showing the earliest signs of changing. If you are looking to do something with the whole family this fall, try taking a drive on one of these beautiful, scenic routes in the Smoky Mountains.

Cades Cove Loop Road

It can be argued that Cades Cove is one of people's favorite areas in the national park, and for good reason. The 11 mile, one-way loop road will carry you through forests, old homesteads and settlement churches. Because the road is open sunrise to sunset year-round, try going later in the afternoon to see all this beauty just as the sun begins sinking towards the horizon.

Cades Cove

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

This nearly 5.5 mile long road is home to one of the largest and swiftest mountain streams in the park. Between the old forests and water features, there is much to see on this drive. In the fall, the colors of the trees will take your breath away so much that you might have to drive around a few times just to process the sheer beauty of it all.

Roaring Fork

Note: Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is one of the park roads that is closed seasonally - usually in late November. For the most up to date road closure information, call (865) 436-1200 and check Smokies Road Info on Twitter. Buses, motorhomes, vans longer than 25 feet, and passenger vehicles towing trailers are prohibited on this road.

Foothills Parkway

Located near the Smoky Mountains, Foothills Parkway will take drivers to a lower altitude, so they can appreciate the view from a different perspective. You will see the vast number of autumn trees that blanket the mountains in a rainbow of oranges, reds and yellows, as they cascade over you. And this particular parkway allows for RV’s and trailers too, so you can drive through, no matter what kind of vehicle you drive.

Foothills Parkway

Tail of the Dragon

Located on Highway 129, the Tail of the Dragon is an 11-mile stretch that winds and curves its way through the Smoky Mountains. You will get to see hills, valleys, forests and mountain peaks on this fun drive. However, be cautious, as the road features many sharp turns, so be sure to stick to the 30 MPH speed limit; with 318 curves, this road is for experienced riders and drivers only.

Tail Of The Dragon
fall drives in the smokies

Cataloochee Valley

Nestled in a valley of the Smoky Mountains is Cataloochee Valley. Driving through this area, you will be surrounded by peaks that reach over 6,000 feet. Several old structures are planted in this valley, including a school, churches and houses. It’s a great place to see some beautiful fall colors and learn a little bit about American history.

If you want to see these amazing sights, pack up the kids and the car, and take your family on a drive that doesn’t involve sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Take a lunch, crank some tunes, and enjoy the view. Book a Pigeon Forge cabin for the weekend, and spend some quality time with your family in the Smoky Mountains.

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